Almost 5 months of uncertainty in the Indian state of J&K, Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed has taken oath as the 13th Chief Minister of the state. The PDP-BJP alliance has formed the government again. The previous CM of J&K and the PDP chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed died in January this year. After his death, it was believed that Mehbooba will be the next CM. Mehbooba has shadowed her father’s political career and has been a popular heir to his political legacy.
With the appointment of the new CM pending, she took enough time to face the family sorrow and dealt with the political bargaining. She showed her own strength, political effectiveness and direct reach to the public. Compelling the BJP to woo her to form the new government and only when her stand was clear did she decide to become the CM. On Monday, she made history by taking the oath as the first woman chief minister of the state and the second Muslim woman chief minister of any Indian state. Syeda Anwara Taimur was the CM of Assam for a short period of about 6 months during 1980-81.
Now Mehbooba will have to face multidimensional challenges as the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir. To run a coalition government is not simple and especially when it is a PDP-BJP alliance. Before the election, even Mr. Modi had appealed to the public several times to support the BJP against the Mother-Son and the Father-Daughter. In the last assembly election, the BJP got 25 seats and the PDP 28 seats. The alliance first formed the government under the chief ministership of Mr. Mufti and now is under the chief ministership of his daughter. Certainly, the BJP doesn’t want to lose the long awaited chance to form the government in J&K.
With the sympathy vote against them, the BJP was not prepared to go for by-elections in the state and risk their present tally of seats. In the case of by-election, it was obvious that the PDP had got more seats. Her nature to mingle with public, to visit the families who are victims of terrorism and to make a relationship with the women of those families and more importantly, the sympathy due to her father’s death may have favoured her in the case of by-election. However, the situation of by-election didn’t occur and a democratically elected government has been formed.
The issues she has to now deal with are varied. Implementing the Common Minimum Programme (CPM) of the alliance, doing a fresh assessment of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), sticking to her stand on the Article 370, promoting tourism in the state, dealing with the problems of terrorism and separatism, the settling back of the Kashmiri Pandits; all these issues are required to be settled with great political and diplomatic expertise.
Kashmir which was known as heaven on earth became a victim of the political selfishness of a few people. The whole valley got painted with blood and the fresh air of the valley lost its fragrance to the smell of gunpowder and cordite.
We have great expectations from her. Let us hope the valley will become a heaven again and millions of cheerful faces enjoy fragrances of tulip and saffron in its lap.
Jyotish Chandra Mishra